En route to DORTMUND, Germany
Ageism: 53 Mundial years
Forecast: Different that yesterday – sunny and VERY hot
While packing up and saying goodbye to the apartment on Esslinger Strasse this morning, it occurred to me how utterly flawless this tournament has gone, at least personally. No mechanical breakdowns, save for the Cackberry bonking out, which was no big deal. Cellphone coverage is spotty here too, but again no big deal. Otherwise, no missed trains or connections. Solid people helping along the way. Lots of instant friends made. The laptop never quit, knock on wood. The net cards we bought here were a godsend.
|Not everyone survived the tourney sans breakdown.|
Andrea from our Corporate Concierge agency picked us up right on the dot of 10 a.m. to drive us and our baggage 2 ½ blocks to the station. I asked her if the agency operates outside of Germany, thinking ahead to Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria.
“Oh yes,” she said. “I am our Euro project manager. I’m just starting work on that.”
So. Euro 2008 then. Whoever goes from The Star, they’re going to have a fine home base.
Now it’s on to Dortmund, and Germany-Italy playing off for a spot in the final in Berlin on Sunday. I think this is your true World Cup final here. Whoever wins, I think they’re each a little bit better than France or Portugal, who meet Wednesday in Munich.
But more than that, I’m hoping for a good, classic match. As good as this tournament has been – its organization has been superb, the security low-key but effective (the perfect mix), Germany has been a great host, and there’s been some good goals (though not nearly enough of them,
Feel free to send along your candidates. Maybe we’ll see another one for the ages today.
Italy 2, Germany 0. An exquisitely tense match broken up very late, Grosso scoring in the 119th minute -- yup, it went extra time -- and Del Piero getting a clincher just before the final whistle. Very late here, I'm on the train, sorting through the usual abusive e-mails, so more tomorrow.
France vs Portugal. Portugal gets first-team midfielders Deco and Constinha back, and with the former running the show they should be more incisive than they were against England. One of Figo or Zidane are headed off into the sunset depending on the result, and the same can be said for France’s wonderful duo of Makelele and Thuram -- and Patrick Vieira, and Fabien Barthez. Henry is finally the same danger man on this stage that he is at Arsenal, and marking him will be Portugal’s biggest task. This should be tight, but Thuram at the back and Henry up front -- plus defensive midfielder Armando Petit out with suspension for Scolari's band -- tip the scales for me. But forget all that, there's a dandy race at the top of the World Cup tantrum board -- France with a tournament-high 23 and Portugal with 22. Gentlemen, start your hissy fits. France 2, Portugal 1.